Betting on the quinella has always been popular with Australian punters, and these days there is a decided finesse in the way some punters go about it.

Spearheaded by the Don Scott exotic betting revolution, and spurred along by publications like P.P.M, the quinella betting techniques have become sophisticated, helped by the availability at many tracks of expected dividends being screened on course monitors.

The 'bet for value' brigade-those professionals who refuse to accept lower odds than what are deemed true-find they can sharpen their attack by studying the expected divvies. Anyone keen on pursuing profits from quinella betting must take it upon themselves to thoroughly study all aspects of the bet itself.

It's not enough to be part of the 'ignorant' money that makes up most of each quinella tote pool. This is where the professionals have an advantage, because they bet according to the 'true odds' of each combination, and do not just place the same amount on each quinella, as most punters do.

Most punters do take multiple quinellas but the mistake they make ' is to place the same amount on each combination, thus failing to take into account the 'true' prospects of each combination. If you can come to terms with this, you'll find that your profits will be greatly boosted.

A friend of mine who bets quinellas for a living insists that any punter playing quinellas should play that form of betting only. Don't, he gays, try to bet on other forms of betting, especially if you are serious about wanting to make money.

He explains: "If you're at the track and you are studiously following quinella divvies, and checking them against your own predictions, you just haven't got the time to be sidetracked into other forms of betting. Your whole mind should be focussing on the quinella battle.

"I simply couldn't handle it if I had to worry about win and place bets, or trifectas. When I'm at the track, my 100 per cent concern is those quinellas-what they're likely to pay, how much I should invest on each, what are my possible returns, which combinations should I drop because there's no value ... all these things have to be considered for around 10 to 20 races in an afternoon."

My pal The Optimist has always been a fan of quinella betting and I like what he has to say in this regard. The Optimist is a great believer in the quinella 'banker' approach. With this, you select the one horse you feel is virtually certain to run Ist or 2nd, and then you couple it with other selections-anything from one to five, depending on how you see the race.

This 'banker' can be the pre-post favourite, the prevailing favourite a minute or two before the race, or perhaps the tipsters' poll favourite. Probably better still it should be the horse you have chosen, after sound form study, as possessing the best chance in the race.

If you're a ratings fan, then obviously you could use the top-rated horse as your banker. It's then a matter of making up your quinella bet from the other highly rated contenders. One plan The Optimist likes is where you use as the 'banker' the horse with the best win strike rate. You then couple it with the two horses with the next highest strike rate, and the three horses with the best place strike rates.

There are many varying combinations of selections you could use. Personally, I do think the best chance for consistent profits is to find yourself a solid selection method, and then assess the 'true odds' of each combination in the quinella, and bet accordingly.

Don Scott goes into great detail on this aspect of betting in his new book Winning In The '90s (as he did, too, in his previous best-seller Winning More). He talks specifically about the mathematics of working out possible quinella divvies, and this is a most interesting aspect of his book. Once you have worked out the odds for each combination, you merely add one to the price and divide into 100 to establish how much you should invest on it.

For instance, let's say your combinations were as follows:
Horse A/Horse B    3.3 to one.
Horse A/Horse C    7.1 to one.
Horse A/Horse D    8.9 to one.
Horse B/Horse C 17.9 to one.
Horse B/Horse D 22-4 to one.
Horse C/Horse D 43.4 to one.

An ordinary quinella punter, of course, would know nothing of these odds. He would bet the 'roughie' 43/1 quinella with the same amount he would place on the favourite 3.3/1 quinella. That's not the way to go! What you have to do is add ONE to each price (thus 3-3 becomes 4.3, and 7.1 becomes 8.1, etc.) and divide them into 100.

By doing that you know exactly how much to place on each quinella. The outcome would be as follows: A/B, $24; A/C, $13; A/D, $11; B/C, 5 6; B/D, $ 5; C/D, $ 3.

You are having your biggest bet on the combination which you have assessed as having the best true chance of taking out the quinella. You are having the least money on the combination you consider has the least chance of winning.

If you follow the 'true odds' approach to the limit you will attend the track, and refrain from be" on any of your combinations which are going to pay less than your assessed odds. Some punters, though, might prefer not to adopt this last aspect, but for the real professionals it is an essential part of their attack, because they are eliminating the no-value combinations.

There are computer programs around which will do all the calculating for you. There are also publications, like Roger Dedman's Commonsense Punting, which contains quinella be" tables. Neale Yardley, P.PM's computer expert, has software available for quinella betting (you should contact him at G.P.O. Box 2559, Canberra, ACT 2602 for further details).

NEXT ISSUE: More details of the ins-and-outs of quinella betting, with several brand new betting approaches revealed.

Click here to read Part 2.

By Statsman